Easy Instant Pot Red Lentil Dal Recipe
This recipe for Instant Pot Lentil Dal is so easy! This is the perfect healthy vegetarian and vegan meal that can be made in just 30 minutes. Serve your red lentil stew with steamed rice for a hearty meal.
It’s unbelievable how easy and fast it is to make dal in the Instant Pot pressure cooker. Masoor Dal is an Indian lentil stew that is made with vegetables, lentils, and spices. This Instant Pot version is plant-based, easy enough for a weeknight, and packed with warm spices.
Lentils are a healthy food full of protein, fiber, and plant-based iron. Most lentils don’t need to be soaked before cooking, so they are convenient and easy to cook. This recipe uses red lentils which are a delicate type that break down quickly. See my other post for how to make Instant Pot Brown Lentils.
For this Instant Pot Indian Dal recipe, you just have to cook the lentils with some chopped onion, tomatoes, spices, broth, and coconut milk. The result is a creamy, flavorful soup that you can eat right out of the pot.
Instant Pot Red Lentil Dal Benefits
- You’re only 25 minutes away from a hearty, plant-based meal. This is a one pot dish with only 5 minutes of prep time!
- The Instant Pot electric pressure cooker makes this red lentil curry flavorful without any work. This is a great recipe even if it’s your first time making Indian food.
- It’s naturally vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
- Red lentils – Red lentils are actually pink in color and you can find them near the rice and grains in the store (or buy red lentils online). They will also be available at any Indian grocery store. Red lentils are a good spruce of protein and break down more much more than brown or green lentils for a creamy texture.
- Vegetable broth – Vegetable broth packs in flavor with just one ingredient. It can be high in sodium though, which is why I recommend reduced-sodium. If you aren’t vegan and want to add more protein to your meal, chicken broth works too.
- Coconut milk – Be sure to use canned coconut milk, not the kind in the carton. It makes this red lentil curry rich and creamy.
- Onion – Onions mellow into a soft and sweet flavor once cooked. They add lots of flavor to the base of this curry. White, sweet, or yellow onions all work great.
- Tomatoes – Tomatoes add sweet tomato flavor to the lentil dal. Look for a large, ripe tomato or use a drained can of diced tomatoes.
- Spices – Coriander, curry powder, and garam masala give this lentil dal so much flavor. You can also use whole spices, but it’s best if you grind them. If you don’t have garam masala, check out this article on the best substitutes for garam masala.
- Cilantro – Fresh cilantro is optional but recommended! It adds a pop of citrusy flavor.
- Lemon – A squeeze of fresh lemon accentuates all the flavors in this dish!
Please see the full recipe card at the end of this post for the exact measurements.
The only real work you need to do for this Instant Pot Dal is to chop the onion and tomato, then rinse your lentils. Then, combine all of your ingredients in the Instant Pot.
Please see the recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredients and measurements.
Lock on the lid and set the time to 5 minutes on high pressure.
You need to allow about 10 minutes for the pressure cooker to come up to pressure.
Once the cooking time is up, let the pressure come down naturally for about 5 minutes.
Then, use an oven mitt to use the quick release and remove the lid. Then stir the dal.
Use a serving spoon or ladle to serve the soup in smaller bowls.
The next time you’re craving Indian food, try this simple recipe for Red Lentil Dal! It’s also perfect for meal prep as it reheats really well.
- If you do not have garam masala, you can substitute ground cumin instead or try one of these garam masala substitutes. This recipe is actually very versatile. Feel free to add whole cumin seeds, turmeric powder or whatever other types of Indian spices you like. Fresh ginger or red chili powder would also be great spices to add to your lentil soup.
- Store any leftovers in a tightly sealed airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Re-heat in the microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat before serving.
- Be sure to rinse the lentils to remove any dirt or debris. No need to soak them!
- To cut down on prep time, buy pre-chopped onions and use canned diced tomatoes.
- The Instant Pot is so great for cooking legumes and peas.
Yes, you can use red or yellow lentils. Don’t use green or brown lentils though as they have different cooking times than red or yellow lentils.
Yes, you can! Full-fat coconut milk will have a slightly richer flavor.
Yes, but then your recipe won’t be dairy-free or vegan. You may also wish to stir in any dairy-based milk or cream after the dal has cooked so it doesn’t curdle.
Yes! You can make this recipe ahead of time and freeze up to 3 months. Reheat in a saucepot on low heat until thawed. Reheat and enjoy!
More Easy Instant Pot Recipes You Might Like
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Instant Pot Potato Soup
- Instant Pot Vegetable Soup
- Instant Pot Carrot Ginger Soup
- Instant Pot Vegetable Broth
Or, check out my index of healthy Instant Pot recipes.
Don’t Miss These Healthy Instant Pot Recipes!
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup light canned coconut milk
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala*
- chopped fresh cilantro (optional, for topping)
- fresh lemon (optional, for topping)
- In the bowl of a 6-quart Instant Pot, combine the rinsed lentils, vegetable broth, coconut milk, onions, tomatoes, coriander seeds, curry powder, and garam masala. Stir to combine.
- Lock on the lid and set the time to 5 minutes at high pressure.
- When the cooking time is complete, let the pressure come down naturally for about 5 minutes. Then, use the quick-release to get rid of the remaining pressure.
- Carefully remove the lid, stir the soup, and serve hot.
- Top with chopped cilantro leaves and a squeeze of fresh lemon, if desired.
- If you do not have garam masala, you can substitute ground cumin instead.
- Store any leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat before serving.
- The total cook time for this recipe includes 10 minutes for the pot to come up to pressure.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Soup
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: Indian
- Diet: Vegan
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 236
- Sugar: 3.8 g
- Sodium: 281.4 mg
- Fat: 5.3 g
- Saturated Fat: 3.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 36.6 g
- Fiber: 6.4 g
- Protein: 12.2 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: instant pot red lentil soup, vegan red lentil dal, instant pot indian lentils, instant pot dal
About the Author: Carrie Forrest is the author of the best-selling Instant Pot-authorized cookbook, The Healthy Meal Prep Instant Pot Cookbook. She has a master’s degree in public health with a specialty in nutrition and receives over 10 million annual visitors to her site. Send Carrie a message through her contact form.